Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 2622–2635 | Cite as

Rating Parent–Child Interactions: Joint Engagement, Communication Dynamics, and Shared Topics in Autism, Down Syndrome, and Typical Development

  • Lauren B. Adamson
  • Roger Bakeman
  • Deborah F. Deckner
  • P. Brooke Nelson
Original Paper


A battery of 17 rating items were applied to video records of typically-developing toddlers and young children with autism and Down syndrome interacting with their parents during the Communication Play Protocol. This battery provided a reliable and broad view of the joint engagement triad of child, partner, and shared topic. Ratings of the child’s joint engagement correlated very strongly with state coding of joint engagement and replicated the finding that coordinated joint engagement was less likely in children with autism. Ratings of other child actions, of parent contributions, and of shared topics and communicative dynamics also documented pervasive variations related to diagnosis, language facility, and communicative context.


Autism Down syndrome Parent–child interaction Joint attention 



This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01HD35612). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health. Portions of the study were presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, 2011, and at the International Meeting on Autism Research, San Diego, 2011. The authors thank Pamela K. Rutherford for her many contributions to this project. In addition we gratefully acknowledge Ann Grossniklaus, Glencora King, Amber Shoaib, Ramsey Simmons, and Lauren Stites, who diligently and reliably rated the corpus.

Supplementary material

10803_2012_1520_MOESM1_ESM.doc (86 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 86 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren B. Adamson
    • 1
  • Roger Bakeman
    • 1
  • Deborah F. Deckner
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. Brooke Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Clayton State UniversityMorrowUSA

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